Because of it’s location, the San Francisco Bay Area can get surprisingly cold. At times, the weather can be quite unpredictable and difficult to prepare for, which greatly impacts seniors and people with disabilities. Although a mere inconvenient to most of us, winter weather can pose serious risks to the wellbeing of our aging loved ones.
Here are 7 ways seniors can prepare for colder weather in San Francisco and the Bay Area:
Is Your Home Winter Ready?
Confronted by with the cold weather, San Francisco’s drafty houses are often unprepared for strong, persistent winds. Many of our houses aren’t ready for such weather, but staying warm becomes a greater challenge for an aging loved one. Seniors should ensure their homes are properly equipped for colder weather. If needed, a family member or home caregiver can check on house conditions to ensure indoor temperatures never get too low. Finding inexpensive and effective ways to stay warm is incredibly important.
Smart Thermostats and Technology
One of the ways seniors in the San Francisco Bay Area can prepare for colder weather is by using smart thermostats and smart technology. If needed, a family member or home caregiver could help set up a smart thermostat and program and monitor indoor temperatures to ensure they never get too low.
San Francisco weather is infamously known for being hard to dress for. Most websites only give one forecast for the whole city, but it’s more complicated than that, especially for seniors. To prepare for unpredictable San Francisco cold weather, try an app like the SF Climate app for mobile phones. The app provides information about the temperature, cloud cover, wind speed, and chance of precipitation for 17 different San Francisco neighborhood microclimates, allowing seniors to be more well-dressed and prepared for the cold weather.
There are many other apps and smart technology that help aging adults live independently and help home caregivers and family members keep seniors safer. For example, there are apps that track medication and doctor visits. When the weather gets more cold and dangerous for seniors, there is wireless technology that allows elderly patients to get medical treatment without leaving home.
Dress For Warmth
Whether you’re indoors or going outside, dressing in layers is always a good idea because you can adjust if you get too warm. When you’re going out in cold or windy temperatures, always make sure you’re wearing a warm hat, gloves, and a scarf. In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin and use a scarf to cover your mouth and protect your lungs. Your body temperature should never go below 95 degrees! Wearing wool socks and shoes with good traction is also a good idea to prevent slips and falls.
Avoid Slipping on Ice
Slipping on ice can really hurt anyone, but seniors are more likely to fall and endure major injuries. In fact, seniors have a more difficult time recovering from these injuries, and these kinds of falls are a leading cause of death from injury in men and women over the age of 65. Therefore, if you’re visiting a place where the weather gets cold and slippery, it’s important to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Staying inside until the roads are clear is a great way to be safe and prevent injury as well. Keep this information in mind if you’re traveling with a senior to a place with temperatures that drop below freezing.
Eat a Good and Nutritionally Diverse Diet
During the colder seasons, people spend more time indoors and are more likely to eat a smaller variety of foods. This can contribute to a variety of problems including nutritional deficits, especially vitamin D deficiency. It is suggested that seniors eat foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, egg yolks, grains, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Eating well also promotes better mental health and can decrease the likelihood of dementia.
Stay Social to Fight Depression
Because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around, many seniors become isolated during colder months. This loneliness can contribute to depression and affect their physical health and wellbeing. To avoid these issues, it’s important that seniors stay social as often as possible. Having family members, home caregivers, or neighbors visit and check in every once in awhile can make a big difference. When things get busy, short daily phone calls help keep aging loved ones happy and healthy.
Enlist The Help of Home Caregiver
Staying warm and healthy is a big part of being able to live independently. The unpredictable cold weather of the San Francisco Bay Area can be hard on the elderly and can pose a huge risk to their lives. That’s why the most important tip for seniors to keep in mind during the colder months is to ask for help as soon as it’s needed. It’s also important for family members to be in close contact and ensure aging loved ones aren’t struggling. Contact us if you need the help of a home caregiver. The winter season certainly poses challenges for seniors, but with a bit of planning and awareness, we can all stay warm, healthy, and happy.